Updated on October 1, 2020
Cocaine is a known addictive substance that is illegal in almost every country however it is still consumed throughout the world. In the United States, cocaine is only second to marijuana for illicit recreational use.
While used typically in middle to upper-class communities the users span races and professions; about 90% of people who have used the drug with the past year are young adults between the ages of 15 and 34. One can gain more of an understanding of the drug by knowing what it is, where it comes from and what the effects are.
What is Cocaine
Cocaine is medically defined as a bitter crystalline alkaloid C17 H21 NO4 obtained from coca leaves that is used medically especially in the form of its hydrochloride C17 H21 NO4 • HCl as a topical anesthetic and illicitly for its euphoric effects and that may result in a compulsive psychological need.
People use more than one form of cocaine including powder and crack. Crack is a freebase form of the drug that is in a solid form that is mainly used for smoking versus snorting which is how the powder is typically ingested.
The street name of the drug differs depending on what form of the drug they are referring to. The powder form is commonly known as yao (pronounced yay-yo), coke, booger sugar or even devil’s dandruff. Crack cocaine is referred to simply as rock or candy.
The coca bush where cocaine derives from is native to the Andes region in South America. Historically the native peoples used the plant as a stimulant with medicinal properties. South America is still the largest source of the coca plant however in modern times it has now spread to other continents including Asia and Africa. Although the coca bush is grown in other parts of the world the U. S. is still the leading consumer of all forms of cocaine.
Effects of Cocaine
The short-term effects of cocaine include a sense of energy, elevated mood, and alertness. Signs of a person using cocaine are increased activity, dilated pupils and excited speech. In the long-term, it can affect the whole body negatively as it travels through the blood regardless of the form or way it was taken. This may result in heart attack, stroke, ulcers, high blood pressure, impaired sexual function or death.
Although cocaine is a global issue it still prevails mainly in the United States. Approximately 14% of U.S. adults have tried cocaine. Young men make up the biggest portion of that statistic. Even with an understanding of the drug through knowing more about it may be difficult to lower any of the current statistics.